• by Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed. • IDRA Newsletter • October 2008 • Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed.

A high priority for the Parent Information and Resource Center is to ensure that school accountability reports are transmitted to families. The attrition rate – which compares enrollment in the ninth grade with enrollment three years later – is as important as are student test scores in measuring the effectiveness of a school. Attrition rates are generally embarrassing to schools, and when reported by the media these are seen as evidence of school failure.

The accountability challenges when presenting attrition data to families and the community are:

  • Having schools face the problem without blaming students and parents;
  • Creating school holding power responses that can succeed through institutional transformation rather than simply bringing back students that have left and putting them in the context that was not previously succeeding;
  • Supporting family-school partnerships that develop positive and pro-active solutions to ensure student success and high school completion; and
  • Moving beyond punitive and alternative campus measures and instead toward valuing, supportive and high expectation approaches.

Engaging families in conversations about school accountability is filled with possibilities. Families are concerned about the education of their children. Meetings and gatherings to examine how schools are doing are opportunities for dialogue and invitations to see the big picture beyond their own children. It is through these conversations that the spirit of Title I parent engagement requirements can have impact beyond the report card notification to individual families.

School children, especially those in Title I schools need families and teachers to come together to figure out what will most help them succeed in school.

The Texas IDRA Parent Information and Resource Center is a comprehensive, multicultural and multilingual parent leadership support program for strengthening partnerships between parents and schools for student success. The center is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to serve the state of Texas. It is directed by Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., who serves on the national board of PTA and on the board of Parents for Public Schools. Comments and questions may be directed to him via e-mail at feedback@idra.org.

[©2008, IDRA. The following article originally appeared in the October 2008 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]